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ISRO to launch Indo-French satellite in Dec 2009

Megha Tropiques, an artistic impression. Alcatel photo

BANGALORE (BNS): The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch an Indo-French weather satellite in December 2009, according to ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair.

Megha Tropiques, dedicated satellite for atmospheric and climate research in the tropics, will be launched from Sriharikota using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Nair said. He was delivering the KEB Engineers Associationís 22nd Silver Jubilee Commemoration lecture here. The satellite, named Megha Tropiques, is a joint venture between ISRO and French space agency CNES.

Megha in Sanskrit means clouds and Tropiques stands for tropics in French. The 500 kg satellite would be the first dedicated satellite devoted to atmospheric and climate research in the tropics. The satellite has evoked keen interest among scientists working on global climate issues.

The satellite would carry multi frequency microwave and optical sensors to provide information on convective and cloud physical processes, water vapour and rainfall characteristics over ocean and land surfaces, monsoon radiation budget etc, according to ISRO.

The satellite will have a unique 20-degree inclined orbit of 867 km so as to provide maximum coverage of the tropical region. Changes in energy and water budget of the land-ocean-atmosphere systems in the tropics influence the global climate to a great extent and Megha Tropiques could provide the answer, ISRO says.

The information will supplement and complement the data received from other Indian and global geo-stationary and polar orbiting satellites. Well-identified scientists and their groups in both the countries will utilize the satellite data, ISRO officials said.

Megha Tropiques would carry a multi-frequency microwave scanning radiometer (MADRAS), a multi-channel microwave instrument (SAPHIR) providing humidity profile of the atmosphere and a multi-channel radiation instrument, ScaRaB, providing data on the earth's radiation budget.

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